Barrett's esophagus has no cure, short of removal of the esophagus or destruction of the Barrett's tissue. The surgery is a serious operation and is recommended only for people who have a high risk of developing cancer or who already have it. The first priority in treating Barrett's esophagus is to stop the ongoing damage of the esophageal lining, which usually means eliminating acid reflux. Most patients are advised to avoid certain foods and behaviors that increase the risk of reflux. Foods that can worsen reflux should be avoided and include:
- Coffee and tea
- Fatty foods
- Acidic juices (orange or tomato) may also worsen symptoms and should be avoided if they cause heartburn.
- Carbonated beverages can be a problem for some people.
Behaviors that can worsen reflux include eating meals just prior to going to bed, lying down after eating meals, and eating very large meals
Behaviors that can lessen GERD include:
- Avoid overeating
- Do not lay down within three hours of eating a meal or snack
- Place bricks or blocks under the head of the bed (to raise it by about six inches). This helps keep acid in the stomach while sleeping.
Treating reflux with a surgical procedure for GERD does not cure Barrett's esophagus. It is an alternative for some people with GERD.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or If you prefer, you may call the division directly at 410-328-5780.